As though we needed any more reminding that Shawn and Nick hate each other, the episode begins with a replay of last week’s conversation between the two men — or, more accurately, Shawn’s verbal takedown of his rival. Nothing really comes of the conversation — in fact, Shawn leaves right after he finishes calling Nick an a—hole for the third time — but you can’t start an episode of The Bachelorette without these two waging war, right?
But rather than focus on Shawn and Nick for the entire first half of the episode, the spotlight is actually going to shift to Ben for at least 10 minutes. I know, Kaitlyn — we’re all as shocked as you are!
Ben and Kaitlyn’s overnight date starts off romantically, with a horse ride around one of Ireland’s most beautiful castles. And hey, if Kaitlyn doesn’t end up finding a husband at the end of this show, these donkeys seem pretty interested.
Later, Kaitlyn greets Ben by standing on the roof of the castle and inviting him inside for dinner. “Come down here, young lady,” Ben beckons, which is ironic…
…because Ben’s first topic at dinner is that he’s 26 — almost four years younger than Kaitlyn. (Something Kaitlyn can now add to her resume: cradle-robber.)
But Kaitlyn doesn’t mind the age gap between her and Ben — nor does she mind all the adorable things he says to her during dinner — and wastes no time in inviting him to the fantasy suite. (Where they’ll probably just “talk all night,” right, Ben?)
After getting his invitation to spend the night with Kaitlyn, Ben reminds us of the graceful way that one should deal with jealousy: He admits that he hates seeing Kaitlyn spend time with other guys, but he chooses not to think about that when he’s with her. You taking notes, Shawn?
On her golfing date with Shawn the next day, Kaitlyn makes a big deal out of her suitor’s wardrobe choices. First, she laughs when he puts his clothes on…
…and then laughs when he takes his clothes off, after daring him to streak across the golf course. (Kaitlyn, the home audience thanks you for choosing a personal trainer to complete this dare. I have two words for you: Hubba hubba.)
And then Kaitlyn steals Shawn’s clothes while he’s golfing, because apparently she’s watched The Parent Trap one too many times.
Let’s cut to the chase: After spending their dinner talking about Nick (yes, again), Shawn and Kaitlyn spend a night in the fantasy suite — but we don’t see much of it. We’re only privy to this shot from the next morning, in which Shawn leaves Kaitlyn, and neither of them look particularly happy.
Not that anyone was actually asking for Round 2 between Nick and Shawn, but that’s exactly what happens when Shawn returns from the fantasy suite. Nick tries to make amends with his rival, but Shawn is having none of it, threatening The Other Guy that it’s “not going to be very good” if he hears Nick talking about him with Kaitlyn again. Yawn.
Later, Chris Harrison — who has a knack for saying the least reassuring things to Kaitlyn at the worst possible times — talks to the Bachelorette about Shawn’s jealous streak. “You have to wonder, is that just because of the situation? Or is that him?” Thanks for the vote of confidence, Chris!
Nevertheless, the rivalry between Shawn and Nick is bound to continue, as Mr. Viall gets the first of two remaining roses.
The second rose, of course, goes to Shawn, which means…
“I’m going to miss that girl,” Ben says as he’s driven away from the mansion. I repeat: :(
And in case you’re wondering what it looks like when two enemies are forced to share space, this should paint an accurate picture for you. Little do Shawn and Nick know, there’s no amount of champagne in the world that could make this scene less awkward.
Next, it’s time for Kaitlyn to meet Nick’s family, all of whom are in emotional shambles before the couple even arrives. First, it’s Nick’s mom who cries at the idea of her son getting his heart broken again…
…and then it’s Nick’s little sister, Bella, who can’t quite contain her emotions when it comes to her big brother. Weirdest family visit… ever?
Actually, the day ends up going very smoothly, and Nick — who has so far been able to remain level-headed throughout Season 11 — sheds a few tears while talking about his feelings for Kaitlyn. (Can you guys head to the comments section and tell me why I’m rooting for Nick to win? Because I totally am, and it makes me feel confused.)
Shawn’s family visit, meanwhile, isn’t quite as emotional. He does share a sweet moment with his dad, though, when the old man gives Shawn his blessing to be with Kaitlyn. Strangely enough, I have no cynical comments to make.
The episode ends — somewhat unsurprisingly — with Kaitlyn in tears, after hearing from Shawn that he is in love with her. “I just care about him so much,” Kaitlyn weeps, and I sincerely can’t tell if these are tears of happiness or sadness. Unfortunately, that mystery won’t be solved for another two weeks, because next Monday brings us the Men Tell All special — and I can’t wait.